[WARNING - This articles contains MAJOR SPOILERS for Arrow and The Flash.]
Both The Flash and Arrow returned last week, bringing with them some major revelations to kick off the back half of each shows' respective seasons with a bang. With the return of Arrow, viewers got their first slimpse of what a Starling City without Oliver Queen would be like, and the roles his friends and allies would assume in his absence. The episode concluded with a promise that Starling City won't be long without its bow-wielding vigilante, but allowing others the spotlight does strengthen the ensemble and therefore the series as a whole.
The final scene of last week's episode saw one of those background players stepping forward - Laural Lance (Katie Cassidy) a.k.a Black Canary II in her full crime-fighting regalia. In tonight's episode - "Midnight City" - yet another step was taken by Laurel into her new vigilante persona. Though it's a plot development comic fans have no doubt been waiting to see since the series began, Cassidy explained to Collider, that only now is the time right:
"It would have been a mistake to throw Laurel into the suit in Season 1, or even in the middle of Season 2. I think she really had to earn it, and I feel like, at this point, she really has."
Laurel has been through hell for much of Arrow so it's a refreshing change to finally see her taking control and looking to make a difference (in a slightly more hands-on approach than being a lawyer allows, that is). Cassidy also explains that taking on the role left vacant by her sister may be a large responsibility, but also a way of keeping the character alive in some way:
"As much as Sara is gone, she is very much a part of Season 3. Physically, maybe not so, but emotionally, for Laurel, Sara is very much a part of her journey in Season 3."
It's a journey that will take Laurel from seeking revenge for her sister, to pursuing a means of honoring her memory; presumably something that will come to a head when squaring off against the new Count Vertigo later this season.
This won't be a transition that many will accept with open arms, however. The remaining members of 'Team Arrow' won't initially approve of Laurel's new late night hobby, but will eventually earn at least one ally:
"It’s actually Roy who sees that, even though she’s sloppy and not trained, she’s actually doing something. She has a lot of heart, soul and passion, and she’s a fighter."
Whether that "passion" will be enough remains to be seen, but it makes sense for Roy to find a kindred spirit in Laurel seeing as he only recently began to feel appreciated for his contributions to the team. And with Oliver still out of commission, Starling City really needs all the help it can get.
Her father, however, won't see it the same way. Cassidy hints that when the time comes for Laurel to confess the secrets surrounding Sara and her hobbies, the scene will be intense, to say the least. But as for specifics: "you’re going to have to watch."
Also appearing later this season is Amanda Waller's Task Force X, better known as the Suicide Squad. Cynthia Addai-Robinson's Waller hasn't been gone long - still frequently appearing in Oliver's Hong Kong flashbacks - but will make her return in the present day during episode 17, "Suicidal Thoughts," ET Online reports. Confirmed to be joining her squad is Deadshot (Michael Rowe) and Cupid (Amy Gumenick), The Arrow's lovesick stalker from earlier in the season.
This episode will also introduce Steven Culp as 'Senator Cray', a corrupt politician who will likely try and use the Suicide Squad for some political gain. It isn't explicitly said what brings Waller and the Suicide Squad back to Starling City, but surely this is only one of many upcoming and frequent appearances the team will continue making on Arrow, what with their big screen counterpart arriving in 2016.
Lastly but certainly not least in this round-up of CW superhero news, The Flash executive producer Andrew Kreisberg talked with THR about last night's episode, the Pied Piper, the Speed Force and what to expect from the next Arrow/Flash crossover.
In episode 18 of Arrow - titled "All-Star Team Up" - Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) and Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh) will pay Barry a visit looking for help in getting Ray's A.T.O.M. suit up and running. But Kreisberg says it will be Barry who benefits most from Felicity's visit.
"It happens to come at a particularly bad moment for Barry, but that’s partially why we did it. The first episode with Felicity in episode four, she really came along in a time when her experience in being a part of a crime-fighting team definitely helped Barry overcome what he was facing that week. When she comes [back], he’s having a crisis of conscience that in some ways only someone like she can help him through."
Considering how quickly Barry's enemies are stacking up against him it will be useful to have Felicity there to deliver the reassurance he no doubt needs. Plus, it's good to see both series continuing to strengthen their friendship considering the major blow that awaits Barry once he learns the truth about Dr. Wells.
Though, keeping in mind that Felicity is grappling with some heavy stuff of her own - Oliver's death first and foremost - hopefully we'll see Barry have her back, too.
The Flash airs Tuesday nights @8pm; Arrow airs Wednesday nights @8pm on the CW.
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